Colombo Chief Magistrate Mohamed Mihal yesterday told Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Dileepa Pieris that the Magistrate Court has no jurisdiction to detain the skipper of MT New Diamond Crude Oil tanker, Sterio Ilias.
The Magistrate ordered the skipper to appear before the High Court when he is noticed to do so and to not leave the country without consent of the Courts.
The Magistrate made this ruling on observing the submission made by the DSG and the Counsel Nipuna Wimalaratna who appeared with Geevan Gunatilalaka for the captain of the distressed ship.
The DSG said the skipper was produced at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court on Monday on an order made by preceding Additional Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage. He said the CID is conducting investigations over an alleged pollution of the Sri Lankan sea by Jettisoning the debris of the distressed tanker.
He asserted that the Captain and crew of the ship had abandoned it negligently when the fire broke out at the ship while transporting Crude Oil from Kuwait to India, sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point.
Counsel Nipuna Wimalaratna said the Captain of the ship had not abandoned it when the fire broke out and that the crew had taken every effort to douse the fire. He said his client is not a suspect in the case.
.He contended that the Magistrate Court has no jurisdiction to detain the suspect or to inquire this matter.
The Magistrate further observed that the Preceding Judge had not named the Captain as a suspect but had named him to appear before Court to assist the CID in their investigations and therefore he refused to detain the Captain. Further inquiries have been postponed for October 12. (T. Farook Thajudeen)